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Front Royal boosts economic development position

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

Efforts to revitalize Front Royal continue as Town Council looks to hire a person or group to fill a new position that would take on the task.

At a work session Monday, council discussed the contracted position of a community development resource officer, which officials say they hope can help bring business to downtown Front Royal and elsewhere in town.

Officials and council have worked to tweak the position and its duties. Town Manager Steven Burke gave an update on the matter to council. The fiscal 2013 budget includes $50,000 to cover a contract for the position.

Officials provided a draft of the request for qualifications, with a revised scope of services, which Front Royal would use to advertise for the position, according to Town Manager Steven Burke. The council also received information officials culled from the town business forum last month. Council is expected to continue its discussion of the changes to the request for qualifications at its work session this coming Monday, according to Burke.

Staff discussed the contract with proprietors at the July 18 business forum and participants came up with some recommendations regarding the scope of the position. The group came to a consensus to augment the scope to provide for grant writing to pursue the nationwide "Main Street" program, then to oversee and facilitate such an initiative.

As a contract position, the amount agreed upon covers the cost for the services but the person, group of people or company would not be on the town's payroll, Burke explained.

The town recently decided to not fund or participate with the Economic Development Authority covering Front Royal and Warren County. Instead council opted to hire someone on a contractual basis to help revitalize the town.

EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald at a meeting weeks ago said the agency would continue its work to support business growth for both localities, regardless of whether the town would fund the authority. But McDonald told council then she hoped the community development resource officer would not do the same work as the EDA and that the town wouldn't be spending its money on redundant services.

Town officials have since had the opportunity to look further into the position.

"I don't believe that it is so much redundant as it focuses more on town-related development," Burke said. "Part of what we took from the business forum is that the scope will be expanded to include pursuit of the designation of a Main Street program as well as expanding it to provide facilitation of meetings to develop a marketing focus for the town."

The position would focus on filling vacant store properties not only downtown but also the shopping centers as well as along Royal and Commerce avenues, Burke said.


Please don't make the same mistakes that the EDA did, bringing in bottom-rung truck terminals that other counties rejected and loading up the goodies for insiders who cashed in on private information regarding development proposals.

We've got hard time here now, and more than ever cannot afford self-dealers who want to stack the deck and stick the town with the bill.

A good start: ask every applicant to discourse at length on his/her understanding of "ethics." And give them plenty of time. It'll be worth it.

Shame, shame mr Mayor, we all know that you are unaware of what the EDA does for the Town based on recent articles in the paper. We are hearing the same statements of the lack of value from the EDA from another former mayor close to mayor Darr. The Town needs to establish a long term vision for the EDA to follow. This new person will fail if this is not done before an effort is made to just bring in any businesses to the Town. The staff of he EDA has asked many times over the last 2years publicly for the Mayor and Council to provide vision for the community. That is the main job of our elected officials to develop a vision for future generations. Look around downtown, why would anybody want to come here. Let's have a lot more 2nd hand stores. We need some some new thinking. Hopefully our new Council members will create some new directions and excitement for the town. I not counting on the Mayor because his past strategy has been doing the same old thiing and expecting different results. I think that is the definition of insanity

The council needs to make up their mind. They can call it whatever they want. And if 'a company' gets this job, they'll call it whatever they what, as more than one person will probably be working on it. And a contract just states what the 'job' is supposed to do. They can't really tell them how to do it because of the different laws.
A contract and contractor are totally different from a employee!!

ROFLMAO: For the first time ever, I can agree with your point of view (oh no). What is happening to me!!!! HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!

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